Filter trial vendor sceptical over Internet clean-feed
- 12 March, 2010 12:43
Internet filtering won't prevent people deliberately looking for inappropriate material from accessing blocked content, according to security vendor, M86 Security.
The technology was originally developed for the education sector and was then applied to enterprise businesses.
“When the filter was first launched 10 years ago, I don't think anybody would have thought it would be applied on a national scale,” M86 COO, Bruce Green, said.
“We talk hundreds of thousands of users and even the biggest enterprise might have half a million. Now we’re talking about millions of users when you go into the consumer section and it was never really designed for that purpose.”
Nonetheless, the technology can still be applied to ISP networks.
While a filter may be effective in guarding against accidental access of inappropriate content online, it may not be as useful in preventing people who are seeking to access such material, according to Green.
“To stop a child accidentally hitting a bunch of keys and accessing something, is doable,” he said. “But a lot of investment goes into cybercrime and if somebody is trying to bypass the filter to share something they want, they’re going to bypass anything you’ve got up.
“In some ways, because it is such a publicised issue, I’m sure people are already working to get around it.”
Having worked at UK telco giant, British Telecom, Green can understand ISPs' apprehension over a mandatory clean-feed.
“As soon as you step into any form of censorship – and some people do perceive it as that – companies would want to stay away because it then becomes political,” he said.
Green shares Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s sentiments regarding the need to protect citizens against ‘indecent’ material but questions how far the filter will go in terms of deciding what content to block.
"But once you implement these sorts of things, I think what everybody is concerned with is how can you control where it goes then?" Green said.
The Federal Government conceded ISP-level filtering is not a silver bullet to preventing access to inappropriate material. It claimed the filter will only block refused classification content which will encompass content depicting child pornography.
M86 has yet to settle on pricing should it chose to supply technology for the proposed Internet filter. The vendor typically charges a set amount per user but due to the large scale of the project the company is contemplating a cost per server implementation pricing model for ISPs. But Green said it will depend on whether the Federal Government is paying for the technology and how much it is willing to fork out.
Marshal8e6 rebranded itself as M86 late last year.